KIND Healthy Grain Bars

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

oats-and-honey-kind

I was recently sent a box of KIND bars to check out. They came out with a new line of granola bars. You may already be familiar with their fruit and nut bars. I really enjoy them, so I was excited to see what they had in store.

They sent me a variety of flavors to try. Now available are:

  • Dark Chocolate Chunk
  • Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate
  • Vanilla Blueberry
  • Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt
  • Oats & Honey with Toasted Coconut

When I opened the box, I zeroed in on the two bars that included chocolate. I mean, who doesn’t love a chocolate chip granola bar?

Since the fine folks at KIND gave me two of each bar to try, I brought some of the extras to work so my buddies could sample and give their opinion as well. They were gobbled up super fast. The KIND logo on the wrapping is already a seal of approval for many, as the brand is known offer good quality. These bars didn’t disappoint.

I thought my favorite would be the dark chocolate chunk flavor, but it turned out to be the oats & honey variety with the coconut. I did love all of them though and will definitely buy them again. I think I like them more than their line of nut bars.

You can learn more about KIND bars and where to buy them by visiting their website.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookie Bars

cookie-bars

Did you know that Pillsbury has recently come out with a line of gluten free doughs? I recently came across their new line of doughs in the supermarket. I’m so glad that companies like Pillsbury have expanded to the gluten free market and their products are widely available.

Thanks to Pillsbury, I have just had the opportunity to try some of their Chocolate Chip Gluten Free Cookie Dough. I was so excited to try it! I knew that I couldn’t just roll them in to balls and pop them in to the oven. I had to do something fun with this new product.

My favorite kind of cookie is a cookie bar. Something about them just allows for more amazing things to happen. You can layer them. You can stuff them. You can add all sorts of yummy stuff to them. A cookie bar is always the way to go. My favorite cookie is typically an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. I knew I had to do some sort of mash-up. That lightbulb moment happened where I decided to make a layered oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bar. Right away, I knew what would go in the middle of the two gluten free cookie doughs. The only option in my mind was caramel. Gooey and creamy caramel. My mouth is watering thinking about it!

I first mixed up my favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough. I used gluten free oats along with a gluten free flour blend. I slightly adapted the recipe that is on the Quaker Oats canister.

mixing-the-dough

I pressed the mixture in to a sprayed 9×13 baking pan.

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Next, I melted caramel bits along with a few tablespoons of heavy cream. I love the caramel bits because they melt faster than the squares and there is no unwrapping to do.

caramel

I poured the caramel over the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough mixture.

pouring-caramel

Next, I used my cookie dough scoop to spoon out even balls of the Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough. I placed them over the caramel.

cookie-balls-pre-baked

I then baked everything at 350 for around 26-27 minutes. I kept my eye on the cookie bars for even browning. The cookie bars couldn’t cool fast enough. I let them cool completely before cutting.

cookie-bars-out-of-the-oven

Holy moly. These cookies bars are amazing. They are the perfect indulgent dessert for a crowd. I hope you enjoy!

**This article is sponsored by Pillsbury. The recipe and content is my own. To check out some other gluten free recipes featuring the line of Pillsbury doughs, go here!

Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookie Bars
 
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Cuisine: gluten free

Ingredients
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer – slightly adapted from Quaker Oats
  • 1 stick plus 6 Tbsp. softened butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1.5 cups Gluten Free Flour Blend (use one that includes xanthan gum in the ingredients)
  • 1 tsp. gluten free Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 cups Gluten Free oats
  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Caramel Layer
  • 1.5 cups Caramel Bits
  • 3 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer
  • 1 tub of Pillsbury Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Layer
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together. Bean in the eggs and vanilla.
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips and the oats until well incorporated.
  5. Spray a 9×13 pan and press the oatmeal chocolate chip mixture in to the pan.
Caramel and Cookie Layers
  1. Place the caramel bits and the heavy cream in a small sauce pan. Heat the pan to medium-high and stir frequently until well melted.
  2. Once everything is melted and mix well, remove from heat.
  3. Pour the caramel over the oatmeal chocolate chip mixture.
  4. Using a cookie scoop, spoon the chocolate chip cookie dough over the caramel layer.
  5. Bake in oven for around 27 minutes, until the top has an even brown tone.
  6. Cool completely before cutting. The bars will be gooey from the caramel.
  7. Enjoy!

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Honey Whole Wheat Bread with Oats and Flax Seed

My daughter asked me to stop sending her yogurt for school lunches. Yogurt made things easy. She was happy with yogurt. She had a full belly from yogurt. She asked me to send in sandwiches instead.

Alrighty, then! Sandwiches it would be. I decided to whip up a batch of some sandwich bread to avoid running out to the bakery and spending unnecessary coinage. I figured that I could use this to my advantage. I have been wanting to make a whole wheat bread that has a somewhat nutty texture  – reminiscent of the awesomely nutty Great Harvest bread.. I didn’t want too much stuff in the bread. This kid is not a huge fan of texture. Great Harvest is a bit too much, but somewhere on the right path. This could be used as a transition bread. She is ready to graduate out of the whiter whole wheat soft breads that we tend to buy for her. I came up with this, which seems to be a happy medium for now.





Honey Whole Wheat Bread with Oats and Flax
Ingredients:


1 cup warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2.5 cups bread flour (plus more for kneading)
2.5 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax seed (I used Trader Joe’s Golden Roasted)
heaping 1/4 cup oats plus a bit more to sprinkle on top of bread

In the bowl of a mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add in the honey and brown sugar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes.

Stir in the soy milk and vegetable and half off the flour.

Slowly mix in the rest of the flours.

Mix in the flax seed and the oats. Dough should be coming together and pulling away from the bowl.

Sprinkle your work surface liberally with flour.

Turn the dough out on to the surface and knead for several minutes. Add flour as needed.

Form in to a big round ball.

Oil a large mixing bowl and place the dough in there to rise. Cover with a towel or saran wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for about an hour.

When risen, cut dough in half.

Shape the dough in to a loaf and place in sprayed loaf pan.

Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes.

While this is happening, preheat your oven to 375.

With a serrated knife, slash the top of the loaf.

Spritz with a bit of water on top and sprinkle on some oats.

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

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Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy!

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Snackin’ Granola

I need to be honest right from the start and let you know that I didn’t intend for this recipe creation to become this granola snack. I really intended this to become granola bars similar to what my kids eat from Trader Joe’s.

I had all of my ingredients laid out and the best intentions. I even promised my older daughter that she would get the first taste. Alas, the bars didn’t hold together too well. I must not have had enough moisture in the granola mixture. So this became some mighty fine snackin’ granola. Similar to what you can find in those big tubs at Costco. My friend graciously refers to this mixture as “Costco Crack.” It really is addicting as a snack. Would also be great as a yogurt topping.

Snackin Granola
Ingredients:

4 cups oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp. chia seeds
3 tbsp. flax seeds
2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350.

In a huge mixing bowl, mix up all of your dry ingredients.

In a small sauce pan, warm up the honey and the peanut butter. Stir together until it is all melty.

When melted, pour the mixture over the granola mixture. Mix it well.

Press in to a rimmed cookie sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Check at 15 to make sure that it isn’t burning.

Let cool for 10 minutes.

Break up in to clusters.

Enjoy!

Crunchy Granola and Proud

My mornings are pretty routine each week. After waking up at 5:00, I only have eyes for my coffee. Breakfast is pretty distant in my mind. If I remember, I might just grab a granola bar, a Luna bar or something of that power/energy bar ilk. Once in a blue moon, I go high style and pick up an egg sandwich somewhere in Manhattan on my way to work. Between the coffee and the energy bars, my mornings can get expensive. I also feel guilty eating the overly processed granola bar products? I mean, really. I do love that whole coated in chocolate aspect of the Luna bars. At $1-2 a pop though, is it really worth it?
I started researching homemade granola, and homemade granola bars. To be honest, diving into this realm is not the best idea for me. My gut truly can’t handle most homemade granola bars. My gut should can only handle that processed stuff. Still, I wanted to try to make my own power/energy granola bar and feel some crunchy granola bar power.

I knew what I wanted in there: some combo of oats, flax, wheat germ, almonds, dried fruit, and chocolate chips. But what else goes into that perfect bar, and how much? There are many recipes out there. Using my math skills, I came up with what I think works for us. Even my picky 8-year-old, who prefers bars of the “Kudos” variety approved of this nutty good-for-you power bar.
There are some modifications I may make next time, aside from processing my ingredients, so it isn’t too nutty for me. I may go all honey and no sunflower butter. Also switch up the fruit. I would like to play with some nut combinations. Maybe throwing in a pecan or two.

Granola Bars
Ingredients

4 cups oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup chopped, dried fruit
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sunflower nut butter
2 tbsp vanilla
4 tbsp butter
pinch or two of salt
Combine all the nutty stuff on to a baking sheet and toast at 350 for 15 minutes.

Stir the mixture around every five minutes. When done, dump in a large mixing bowl and cool down. Stir in the coconut, dried fruits, and choco chips in to the mixture. Turn the oven down to 300.

Get a 9×13 pan ready. Line it with parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, add the sugar, the nut butter, the honey, the vanilla, and the salt. Stir up until the brown sugar has dissolved. Just a few minutes. Let cool a couple minutes.

Pour the sticky mixture over the granola mixture and stir. Press the mixture into the pan. Press down so it’s all even.

Bake at 300 for around 25 minutes.

When done, remove from oven and let cool on counter for a good 30 minutes or so.

Slice into granola bar shapes – anything goes really. Enjoy!

Wrap in plastic wrap. I prefer the “Stretch-Tite” brand. Saran is for wimps. Enjoy your bars.

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